Forty young designers, five days of pure inspiration, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That’s the Emerging Creatives programme at Design Indaba Expo 2013.
The Emerging Creatives Programme, sponsored by the Department of Arts and Culture gives young or up-and-coming South African designers the opportunity to exhibit at the acclaimed Design Indaba Expo.
This year proved to be a very successful one indeed. “Each year the standard goes up for the Emerging Creatives, and its wonderful to see”, says Vusithemba Ndima, deputy director general, Department of Arts and Culture.
From fashion and jewellery to illustration and photography, the 2013 Emerging Creatives created an inspiring buzz on the Expo floor.
Jewellery designer Katherine-Mary Pichulik showcased an array of bespoke and “wild” neckpieces made with thick rope. “I’m inspired by brave, bold women and tribal iconography”, says Pichulik. On speaking about the Emerging Creatives programme, Pichulik believes it allows designers to incubate ideas and form fruitful collaborations.
Another jewellery designer Amy Sinovich took inspiration from her surroundings to create pieces reflective of her environment using semiprecious stones and metals. “Design Indaba Expo is a really great platform for allowing people to showcase their work and for meeting people in a like-minded industry”, says Sinovich.
Deana Alter revealed an unconventional design process in jewellery design. Her pieces incorporate recycled car materials intertwined in silver.
On the fashion front, sisters Kim and Natalie Ellis of The Joinery launched their brand on the Expo floor. “I’m very excited to get our branding up and our clothes on show”, says Kim. Using organic materials such as hemp, the sisters create a range of men and womenswear pieces, which are local and ethnically produced by a Fair Trade sowing co-operative. The sisters used the opportunity to do market research, finding out how much their clothes should sell for and which pieces are more popular than others.
Thabo Makhetha is a Port Elizabeth-based fashion designer who creates modern clothing inspired by her cultural heritage. “I take traditional blankets and turn them into coats”, she says.
Interior designer Nawaa Saldulker and graphic designer Graeme Bettles used the opportunity to delve into a new discipline and explored their talents as product
Illustrator Simone Le Roux used her passion for character design to explore textiles and designer toys. “Design indaba’s Emerging Creatives programme is a wonderful platform for all-round inspiration”, she says.
Another illustrator Kirsten Sims started creating funky greeting cards due to the lack of “interesting” greeting cards in South Africa. Today her hobby has turned into a possible career path for the designer.
Ceramic artist Farah Hernandez spoke about the talent seen on the floor. “Young designers here are super fresh and less polluted with everything else that is around”, she says.
The programme saw photographer Hannah Minkley’s documentation of portraits and emotive fashion.
Industrial designer Ebrahim Assur of EA Designs landed big orders for United Kingdom clients and explained his excitement, “it’s morale boosting for a designer”.
Blaire Rieger and Cindy Taylor showcased their children’s furniture and lighting collection made from reclaimed wood. The profits of their sales go to funding projects, which rehabilitates schools. “Design can give back on more than one level”, explains Rieger.
“Functionality and practicality sums up my work”, says Eales.
Jasper Eales of Jasper Eales Original designs environmentally conscious products. “When people recognize your work, such as Design Indaba Emerging creative programme, you know you going somewhere”, says Lazi Mathebula of Greiispaces.

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Design Indaba is a multi-tiered platform committed to a better world through creativity. Established in 1995 with its flagship conference, it has evolved into a multidisciplinary experience that now consists of the globally acclaimed annual Design Indaba Conference, Simulcast, Expo and FilmFest, as well as a host of parties, performances, training workshops, design projects, community initiatives and publications.

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